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Government agrees on national and regional recommendations to prevent spread of COVID-19 epidemic

Government Communications DepartmentMinistry of Education and CultureMinistry of FinanceMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 15.10.2020 14.08 | Published in English on 15.10.2020 at 17.23
Press release 651/2020

In its talks on Thursday 15 October, the Government decided on national and regional recommendations help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The recommendations take into account the most recent assessment of the epidemiological situation. The Government will adopt a resolution on the recommendations at its plenary session next week (the week beginning on 19 October).

National recommendation to work remotely

Due to the widespread increase in COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Government recommends that employees in the public sector work remotely as extensively as possible if their duties so allow. 

The Government also recommends that private sector employers adopt similar extensive remote work practices. Employers are responsible for assessing how best to coordinate remote and on-site work at their workplaces. Employers should also promote work arrangements that reduce close contacts and other risk factors for employees.

The national recommendation on remote work will remain in force until further notice. The validity of the recommendation will be reassessed by 31 December 2020.

The Government’s policies and recommendations on remote working are not legally binding on employers.

Government recommendations for regions 

The Government’s regional recommendations are divided into three categories based on the development of the epidemic. 

In regions where the epidemic is at the base level, the Government recommends that all public events and leisure activities with more than 50 participants be arranged in a way that takes into account the guidelines from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Education and Culture on hygiene recommendations and safe distances.

Leisure activities and the use of public spaces must be organised so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice.

In the acceleration phase of the epidemic, the Government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 20 persons. 

All public events must be arranged in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Education and Culture. The number of persons at public events held in indoor spaces is restricted to half the normal capacity.

When using public spaces, arrangements must be made to ensure that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice. In addition, the number of customers permitted in indoor spaces is restricted by half.

Due to the restrictions on the use of spaces, it is recommended that indoor group leisure activities for adults be suspended in situations where there is a high risk of infection. 

All group leisure activities must be arranged so that participants and parties can avoid close contact with one another in practice. 

The Government also recommends that higher education institutions switch to distance education, taking into account the need for essential contact teaching.

In the spreading phase of the epidemic, the Government recommends issuing a regional or local recommendation to avoid holding private events with more than 10 persons. If necessary, public events may be prohibited altogether.

The Government also recommends suspending group leisure activities altogether if this is necessary due to the restrictions on the use of spaces. However, careful discretion should be used when considering whether to suspend children’s hobbies. 

If necessary, public spaces may be closed altogether, taking into account the nature of their use.

As a last resort, the Government recommends that upper secondary schools switch to distance learning, taking into account the need for essential contact teaching.

The Government's recommendations are not legally binding. 

Inquiries: Juha Majanen, Acting Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 295 530 247 and Juha Sarkio, Director General, tel. +358 295 530 031, Ministry of Finance, [email protected] (remote work recommendation);    Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 295 330 182, [email protected]
Annex: COVID-19 situation as of 15 October 2020 | THL (in Finnish)
 

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